Just wanted to update you on my Cornish cross meat chicken project. They are just a little over 3 weeks old and are developing feathers on their wings and tail.
When I picked up these chicks at the hardware store, I also had a weak moment and bought 3 brown speckled Sussex chicks. The Sussex chicks will grow up to be layers and they are about a week older than the Cornish chicks.
Any time I try something new, there are always trials and lessons to be learned. Even though I read and read and research about a particular subject, it’s not the same as doing it in person. Here’s what I’ve observed so far.
First of all, my brooder is plenty big but the barn is way too drafty. It’s very tall and open throughout the entire barn and, even though we close the door when we go in an out, we go in an out quite a bit and I think this has caused some draft issues.
Second: even though the Sussex chicks are only one week older they are noticeably larger than the Cornish. When they snuggle together, the larger ones lay on the smaller ones. This has resulted in the death of a few of the Cornish.
But, they are snuggling because it’s cold and drafty. I have a heat lamp in one corner of the brooder but nothing else. Time to regroup.
I got some scrap chicken wire and divided the tub. I put the Sussex in 1/3 of the tub with their own heat lamp and the Cornish on the other 2/3 of the tub with their own lamp. I put the lamps close to each other to boost the heat. I bought a brooder thermometer to monitor the temps. The first week of a chicks life, the temp should be around 95*. The second week, 90* and the third week 85*. Temps were good through the day, but would drop to around 75* at night. Still too cold and a couple more Cornish perish.
My brother-in-law and his wife also have some of the chicks. They lost one during a really cold night but none after that. What are they doing different? They have the same type of tub I have with the exact same heat lamp. They are feeding the same feed. The only difference is they have their chicks enclosed in a smaller shed making it a draft free area.
Time to move. They are still too young to move out to the chicken tractor so my plan was to move them to the shed side of my chicken coop.
This means I have to clean out the shed side of my chicken coop. Sigh.
That doesn’t take as long I think, but now the dilemma is how to get them in there.
Well guess what? The tub is too big to fit through the door! Are you flippin’ kiddin’ me!?!
So, to date this is what I have done. I found a smaller water tub in the field and brought it up for the Sussex. They are now in the shed.
The Cornish are in the same place in the barn. I rearranged their tub and put the heat lamp by the wall of the barn and covered the draftier part of their tub with sheets and quilts. The thermometer has read around 85*consistently.
I now have this ritual when I go out and check on them (which could be midnight, 2 am, 4 am or all the above) I like to chant Please be alive, please be alive, please be alive. It’s been a week since I have done all of this and no more chicks have been lost.
Another observation. I can tell a HUGE difference between the shed and the barn. The shed is very comfortable with a consistent temperature. No chills at all when I walk in.
Have a great weekend!
p.s. My dad and I will be checking the bees today so I will keep you posted and try to take pics. (?) I do know one thing. If I can’t take pics with all my garb on, you’ll just have to do with a written account.